Red Rocks

Nothing but love for Sammy F***in' Hagar, Melanie Moon and the Blanche; plus, we lay bare our soul (and other less metaphysical parts)

There will come a day, on the eve of Sammy Hagar's 70th birthday, when the Red Rocker will play to a lackluster crowd of under 100 people in a Laughlin, Nevada, lounge. The following day, however, Hagar will sell out UMB Bank Pavillion, playing to 20,000-plus. In St. Louis Hagar is bigger than God.

And seeing as how he's closing his summer tour at UMB on August 23, Unreal felt it would be blasphemic not to drink Hagar's Cabo Wabo tequila during our phone interview while dropping an f-bomb into every line of inquiry. So we fucking did (slurp).

Unreal: The headline on your press release says, "With Sammy Hagar, It's Always Happy Hour." At what time of day do you have your first fucking drink?

Sammy Hagar: I gotta wait until the sun goes down on a workday. Tonight I got a gig [in Houston]. If I wasn't playing tonight, I'd sit by the pool and have one or two cocktails. The reason is, if you start drinking too early -- like in Cabo, people get off the plane, start doing shots, drinking beer. Five or six o'clock in the afternoon they're passed out in the hotel room. Some people don't have brakes on their car, y'know?

Sam, how come you recommend that your tequila be sipped when doing shots is way more fucking rock & roll?

Well, it's really expensive tequila, and it tastes really good. If you can afford to do shots, have at it, man, but I say savor it. You do a shot first always, then you wait awhile and see how you feel. Shot and sip, man -- then you do a Waborita [i.e., a margarita made with Cabo Wabo].

Why do you think you're so fucking huge in St. Louis?

I'm fucking huge everywhere. I'm fucking huge from head to toe. My brain is big, my dick and balls are big. I'm big all over. My belly's gettin' big.

How hard are you going to fucking rock UMB Pavillion on August 23?

St. Louis is one place that I really get up for. I feel an obligation. Don't ask me why any of this -- in my heart and soul and in my head, I cannot take it like another show. Sometimes it doesn't matter where I am: "I've got a show tonight." They have to write on my monitors where I am. When I'm in St. Louis, I know I'm in St. Louis. I redesign my set list for St. Louis.

Compare and contrast San Fran-fucking-cisco's coastline with St. Louis' lovely Mississippi River coast.

Well, now that's a tough comparison because the northern California coastline is one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. The Mississippi River -- you stand there and look at that motherfucker and you say, yeah, this isn't some little creek down the street.

Given your penchant for booze, have you ever considered co-headlining a tour with Jimmy Fucking Buffett?

Jimmy Fucking Buffett probably doesn't want nothin' to do with me. I respect Jimmy and all, but he's way laid-back. I'm like Jimmy Buffett on crack. I think it'd be the most awesome drinking party on the planet, but he wouldn't wanna go on after I finish. Maybe we play simultaneously. That'd be a fuckin' train wreck.

Why do you suspect fucking David Lee Roth had to cancel his August show in St. Louis?

Y'know, I had nothing to do with it. DLR -- I don't want to slam the guy too bad, but he's been canceling every other show. He ain't doin' so hot. He just fuckin' acted like he was God and closing half the shows [on the 2002 Hagar and Roth co-headlining tour] and we know now that he didn't deserve it. He fucked me. So fuck him. I don't like people who fuck other people. David Lee Roth fucks every person who comes around him. There aren't many people I hold onto that fuckin' thing with, and he's one of 'em.

Have you ever considered riding your mountain bike down the Arch? That'd be fucking extreme, right?

I've never even considered it. I went up in that sonofabitch, and it scared the hell out of me. I tried to pull off a free concert there the night after we do this one, because it's the last night of the tour -- but they won't let me. If they ain't gonna let me play underneath that motherfucker, they ain't gonna let me drive my bike down it.

Moon Manned

In a move destined to disappoint its male viewership, WB television affiliate KPLR-TV (Channel 11) has booted Southern-bred sexpot Melanie Moon from its weeknight anchor desk and brought in veteran Rick Edlund. The former KSDK (Channel 5) and KDNL (Channel 30) talking head had been cooling his heels since the latter station folded up its news tent in late 2001.

"I guess we're not going after the young so much anymore," says KPLR general manager Bill Lanesey, alluding to Mike Seely's December 11, 2002 cover story "Chasing the Young," which made note of the unique teaming of Moon and co-anchor Kathryn Jamboretz. The plan is for Moon to be relegated to field work and the weekend anchor desk.

Blame it on Chicago, fellas. A source at the station who spoke on condition of anonymity tells Unreal that Edlund's hire is mostly the concoction of KPLR's new owner, Windy City-based media behemoth Tribune Company, which, the source says, is intent on gradually sculpting Channel 11 into a River City version of Midway superstation WGN.

Though the move might be viewed as a vote of confidence for Jamboretz, it's a considerable dice roll. Edlund's reputation is solid, but he's no Julius Hunter. And shooing Moon means losing the excuse that the zippy nine o'clock newscast is a zag to the stodgy zig of KSDK and is therefore immune to head-to-head comparisons. A potential wild card in the shuffle is the question of whether KPLR's weekend ratings will spike now that Moon is back on the desk where she got her local start after migrating from Virginia. It's possible that where Moon arises, the buttoned-down dudes will tune in their sets. And as Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean knows, it's all about energizing your base.

The Unburdening

Unreal has a confession to make.

We used to hate the Samples. Absolutely hate them. We don't recall precisely what we had against the Colorado earth-rock band, but suffice it to say that our hatred caused us to do something we've been feeling bad about ever since.

About six years ago the group was playing a concert at Washington University. Having consumed more than a few refreshing malt beverages, a young and reckless Unreal -- bear with us; we're almost too ashamed to admit this -- hurled a nearly full can of beer at the bassist, hitting him in the head and briefly halting the performance while security sought the culprit.

Unreal escaped, but the incident still haunts us. So much so that when we got word the Samples would be in town this Friday afternoon for a free show at the Budweiser True Music Stage on Washington Avenue, we resolved to get the whole fiasco off our chest. So we called lead singer Sean Kelly.

Of course, before copping to our crime, we figured we should feel out the situation a little.

Unreal:What's the worst experience you've ever had on tour?

Sean Kelly:One of the worst happened on our last tour, where we had a show canceled in Salt Lake City. We were robbed of the money and our show from the promoter. It was a total debacle.

Have you ever had to deal with unruly crowds?

Once in New York many years ago, people were throwing mud or hay or something on stage. I took my water bottle and heaved it out and smashed it on some guy's head. And I said, "You'd better cut it out!" and gave him the finger and left. Then [the concertgoers] charged our bus and tried to tip it over. It was like Children of the Corn!

Do you remember playing at Washington University in 1997?

[Bemused silence]

Wash. U. in St. Louis?

I don't know if I do.

It was an outdoor concert, in the "Quad" area. It was either '97 or '96.

Yes! I do remember that! Someone whipped a can and hit our bass player in the head! Our bass player was ripped -- he was pissed! Man, you're so defenseless on stage because you have lights in your eyes half the time; you can't see. That was probably up there with beating up an old lady -- it's really bad. It's bad, bad, bad karma to do that. To whip shit at people on the stage is, like, the worst thing you can do.

Well, I have to admit something. I have to get something off my chest...

Were you the one that threw it?

[Meekly] Yeah.

Oh man. [Pause] Don't worry about it.

I was a young, drunk kid. Believe me, if I come to see you guys next weekend I won't do that again.

We've all done stupid things. Don't worry about it! And it didn't turn out that bad. I think we kept playing afterwards.

If it makes you feel any better, I was shunned by my classmates for the next few weeks, but they forgave me, and it sounds like you have too.

Yeah! If we heard that people were giving you shit, we would have defended you. Sorry you had to go through that. Definitely come down to the show and say hi, wouldya? I mean, we all do stupid shit. Don't hold that stuff in, it's no good.

Viva the Blanche!

If a well-planned media event is any indicator, the future success of the $52 million Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis seems assured. The doughnuts were delicious, the orange juice ice cold, and both primed the bevy of reporters and stuffed-shirts into an awe-inspired stupor as they crossed the threshold into the stunning Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall.

Of course, it's easy to lure Unreal with a free doughnut. But it may prove more difficult to draw 1,600 people to see Melissa Manchester and Paul Williams perform. Harder still will be stomaching the truth that the inaugural season also includes, among others, Manhattan Transfer, the U.S. Army Field Band and part of the new-age record label Windham Hill's roster. Doubtless UMSL students should go crazy for these renegades! Anyone complaining that The Blanche, as we hereby nickname the new 123,000-square-foot structure, is going to suck people out of downtown can rest easier knowing that on at least one November evening there will be 1,600 fewer new-age fans in the central corridor.

Still, we'll wave the freak flag for the building, which is incredible, a vast open space that houses a 300-seat black-box theater, the aforementioned performance hall and an impressive array of fancy dressing rooms and rehearsal areas. The building celebrates its grand opening on September 27 with a performance by tap dancer Savion Glover, who will honor his mentor, the late Gregory Hines, who was originally scheduled for the christening.

Always a Happy Ending

David Olin Tullis, author of the self-published Surrender to the Sensations: The Gentlemen's Guide to the Business and Pleasure of Sensual Massage, believes that God called him to St. Louis. Formerly married and of Little Rock, Arkansas, and now an openly gay man and expert (albeit unlicensed) masseur, Tullis says that it was part of God's divine plan for him to come here and meet people on his massage table.

Since placing his first advertisement for "incomparable full body massage, gentlemen only" in 1992 in the Riverfront Times, Tullis says he has seen thousands of clients, mostly businessmen from out of town who've found his downtown location and low, low price (originally $25 per session, later raised to $50) attractive. Unfortunately, they didn't always feel that way about him.

"I am not a handsome young man, but I never lie when giving my age or description," the 50-year-old Tullis writes in the recently released Surrender. "On more occasions than I like to think about, I have opened my door to new clients only to see a look of disappointment on their faces.

"This story has a happy ending, though. Once people get to know me and experience my massage, my looks simply become unimportant and irrelevant."

Speaking of happy endings, Tullis says nearly all of his gentlemen expect one, though he's quick to add that confusing sensual massage with prostitution does a disservice to practitioners of both professions. Nonetheless, in his book he advises would-be sensual masseurs, "No matter how scantily clad you start out, keep your clothes on unless the client asks you to undress -- or undresses you. It would be highly presumptuous to simply assume that the client wants to see you nude."

Having perused Tullis' tome, Unreal couldn't resist the temptation to surrender to the sensations ourself. Tullis, we can report, works out of his impeccably clean apartment, where, to the strains of Reader's Digest's Most Beautiful Melodies of the Century, he makes ample use of baby oil and exerts a pleasantly light touch -- though we did not go so far as to assay the happy ending or, for that matter, his, um, dexterity at what he calls "the delicate art of prostate massage."

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